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    INF 389G Introduction to Electronic and Digital Records, Unique 27835 - Fall 2018
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Instructor: Dr. Patricia K. Galloway

Course Meeting Time
Thursdays 12:00 p.m - 3:00 p.m, UTA 1.210A

Course Description
The management, preservation, and use of digital records and other digital objects with enduring (or even temporary) value are almost all still problems with only partial solutions. Although increasing progress is being made by archival researchers and some standards have emerged for "simple" digital records, there are two reasons why this open-ended situation will probably remain constant: the supporting technologies are changing constantly and the rate of change is accelerating; most people use proprietary software so are tied to the vendor's changes, and creators and users of these records (if not the records' potential managers and preservers) are themselves caught up in a culture of immediacy that makes the problems with electronic records invisible until some legal entanglement brings them into sharp focus (as, for example, the destruction of records by Enron, 9/11 terrorists, and the collection of emails by NSA or hackers)--or you suddenly realize that you have lost the only digital photos you still had of some crucial event in your life.

Yet since both governments and other human institutions and individuals have depended upon technologies of memory in the past, it is a safe bet that they will continue to do so in at least the immediate future (as, for example, Hillary Clinton's email server). For that reason these problems must and will be solved, at least in terms of a sequence of temporary solutions that will be good enough to achieve the ends of the institutions in question and of individuals for their everyday lives, both by those who are charged with the institutional custody and preservation of the cultural record and by individuals themselves.

The problems are not just technological; if that were so they could (and perhaps would) already have been solved. They are, more importantly, social, economic, and political. The archivist or records manager or digital librarian or individual called upon to solve them in a real-world setting will have to understand not just a set of ideal archival requirements, but how to cope with applying them to and tailoring them for an actual functional environment--bearing in mind that in the current digital environment change never ceases, the people who create and use the records have other things to think about, the powers that be continue to think of the problem as the job of IT, and getting it right once and for all is not an option. Individuals can hopefully borrow from these institutional practices the solutions that suit them--or they may devise novel solutions for themselves. Increasingly, it seems that individual practices are having significant impact on what people can be persuaded to do in the way of digital recordkeeping in the workplace (especially where BYOD is becoming common), so personal digital archives has become an important area of research.

In this introductory course, we will:

1) become acquainted with the basic literature on digital records and recordkeeping (and contest the term "records")

2) track new developments in the field over the semester in order to get a feel for how to pay attention to emergent problems

3) apply our learning to coming up with a business case for a real-world problem

4) and examine reflexively our own digital recordkeeping practices over our lifetimes and at present as a sample of the kinds of problems existing in the broader environment.

Documented Disability Statement
Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, telephone 512-471-6259.

Religious Holy Days
By UT Austin policy, you must notify me of your pending absence at least fourteen days prior to the date of observance of a religious holy day. If you must miss a class, an examination, a work assignment, or a project in order to observe a religious holy day, I will give you an opportunity to complete the missed work within a reasonable time after the absence.

Professor: Dr. Patricia K. Galloway

Phone: (512) 232-9220
Office: UTA 5.436
Office Hours: 9:00 a.m -11:00 a.m Tuesday or (preferably) by appointment